poems sent from dickinson to mary bowles

Thomas Johnson's Note on Poem 162

MANUSCRIPTS: There are three, two written about 1860. That reproduced above (Bingham) is incorporated in a letter to Mrs. Bowles, written in August 1861. The copy in packet 15 (H 80c) is identical in text:

My River runs to Thee -
Blue Sea - Wilt welcome me?

My River waits reply -
Oh Sea - look graciously!

I'll fetch thee Brooks
From spotted nooks -

Say Sea - take me?

A second fair copy (Bingham 98-4B-11) is identical in text and form with the first two stanzas in the packet copy; the last two are variant:

I'll bring thee Brooks -
From dappled nooks!

Say Sea - take me?

PUBLICATION: Poems (1890), 54, titled "The Outlet." The text derives from the packet copy, but the italics are not reproduced. In the first three impressions the line arrangement is exactly followed. On 29 December 1890, Mrs. Todd wrote Col. Higginson regarding corrections proposed for the fourth impression (AB, 90): "And on page 54, in the last line, I am sure she intended it to be two lines instead, Say, sea/ Take me!" The alteration was adopted and has since been retained. The poem was omitted from the letter to Mrs. Bowles: Letters (ed. 1894), 196-197; (ed. 1931), 185-186; also LL (1924), 219-220.

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on October 30, 1998